No Budget Allocations to Protect Media Against ‘Enslavement’
Despite President-elect Mohamed Muizzu’s campaign pledge to provide state funding to ensure media independence, the 2024 National Budget has revealed that no such allocation has been made for media organisations.
The media had been ‘enslaved’ due to reliance on sponsorship from state-owned companies, Muizzu had said during a campaign speech on 14 September where the incoming president had proposed allocating state funds to media organisations in order to better hold the administration accountable. However, while such an allocation would also prospectively require legislative and regulatory changes to state administration and mechanisms to make allocations in an equitable and transparent manner, it appears as though the 2024 Budget has not made this allocation.
While 314 projects proposed to be initiated by the incoming administration have been budgeted, Transitional Spokesperson for the president-elect Mohamed Firuzul Abdulla Khaleel said the incoming administration’s budget committee had had a ‘limited’ space to work on the 2024 Budget. Muizzu does not want the 2024 Budget to balloon past MVR 49.5 billion, Khaleel said.
During his campaign, Muizzu assured that press freedom would be unhindered under an administration led by him and expressed his intention to facilitate the advancement of the media. In addition to his pledge to allocate a percentage of the state budget to private media, Muizzu also affirmed that his administration would assist students aspiring to pursue careers in journalism.
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